Franklin Raines, who left Fannie in 2004, says investors, not homeowners or the government, are responsible for the crisis. Others disagree, and some blame Fannie Mae.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 23, 2012 1:17PM

© Exactostock/SuperStockInvestors, not homeowners, were responsible for the real-estate crash, according to the former chief executive of Fannie Mae.


Franklin Raines, who left Fannie Mae in 2004, made his comments last week at a National Community Reinvestment Coalition challenge.


He challenged the contention that the crisis was caused by homeowners who bought when they shouldn't have or bought more home than they could afford. Government policies to encourage homeownership also were not to blame, he said.


Watch for this Long Beach, Calif., home on 'Glee' next month. The homeowners added an observatory and have seen stars of various kinds ever since.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 20, 2012 11:32AM

Coldwell Banker Real Estate When you do a major home renovation, there are certain things you are likely to include: a new kitchen, maybe additional bedrooms, updated systems.


In Long Beach, Calif., Dr. Gregory Szal and Regina Szal added an observatory with a specially designed telescope calibrated for their location. Over the years, the home has been the scene of numerous fundraisers, TV shows and commercials. In a few weeks, you can see it on "Glee."


Or, if you'd like to see it every day, it's listed for sale for $1.4999 million.


A new report says that buyers lost more in equity than they got from the tax credit, because prices fell further after they bought. The winners were sellers and lenders.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 19, 2012 11:02AM

© Jupiterimages/Getty ImagesBack in 2009, this sounded like a great deal: Buy a home and Uncle Sam would give you 10% of your purchase price back, up to $8,000.


How could buyers lose?


According to a new report, many of those buyers lost more in equity than they gained from the tax credit. They would have been better off buying later, which is probably what they would have done without the tax-credit incentive. Even worse, some are now trapped with underwater mortgages.

Tags: buying

The median price is up slightly and the inventory is down considerably from a year ago. Distressed properties made up a smaller percentage of sales.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 19, 2012 8:47AM

Sold sign; © Simon Jarratt/CorbisThe number of existing homes sold fell in March, another reminder that the housing market, while improved, is still seeking its way.


Sales of existing homes were down 2.6% from February, but were up 5.2% compared with March 2011. Total sales for the first three months of the year were at the highest level since 2007.


The median price for existing homes sold was $163,800, up 2.5% from a year ago.


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will require loan servicers to respond within 30 days to most requests. HAFA rules that went into effect this month are also designed to speed up the process.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 18, 2012 1:54PM

© fotag/Getty ImagesYou likely have heard the stories of short-sale transactions that drag on for months or years, despite the best efforts of buyer and seller.


Now Freddie Mac has issued new guidelines designed to speed up the process significantly, and Fannie Mae is expected to follow suit.


The new rules call for the loan servicer to acknowledge a short-sale request from a seller within three days and notify the borrower of any missing documentation within five days. Then, the servicer is expected to reach a decision in 30 days. If that's not possible because of negotiations with the loans' investors, the servicer must update the borrower weekly on the negotiation status.


A division of the Swedish furniture company is developing a 6,000-resident rental community in London, complete with shops and cafes.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 18, 2012 12:26PM

Courtesy of Strandeast.comIkea has millions of fans around the world, who like its simple, modern, Scandinavian vibe. You can fill your house with Ikea furniture, or you can get an Ikea-style house.


Soon, if you're in London, you could live in an Ikea town.


The real-estate development arm of the Swedish furniture company is moving forward with plans for Strand East, which will be a 6,000-resident development on 26 acres of industrial land near the site of this summer's Olympics.


Would-be buyers face strong competition from investors for properties. They are also likely to face slightly higher costs for mortgages.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 17, 2012 12:12PM

© CorbisFor the first time in quite a few years, it looks as if there really is a spring homebuying season this year.


Exactly what kind of season depends a great deal on where you are. Your price range is also a factor.


In many parts of the country, buyers are coming out of the woodwork — not in droves, but in much bigger trickles than last year.


The 'catfish' recovery of the housing market is reflected in the latest statistics on new construction. Building permits hit their highest level in 3.5 years.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 17, 2012 10:41AM

© Kelly Redinger/Design Pics/CorbisIt was more good news/bad news Tuesday when the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the number of housing starts declined 5.8% from February to March, but the number of building permits rose 4.5%.


The building permit number was the highest since September 2008, though it still remains about half the level of a healthy market.


And the "catfish recovery" goes on, as the housing market flops along the bottom like a catfish.



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